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Gulu Residents Raise Concerns Over Rampant Homicides in Acholi Region

According to statistics obtained from police in Aswa River Region, a total of 366 homicide cases were registered in Acholi Sub –Region in a period of 15 months. Out those cases, 301 were from January to December 2020 while 65 were from January to March this year.
Jimmy Patrick Okema, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson issuing the ban on display of fireworks. Photo by Jesse Johnson James

Audio 4



The residents of Gulu have raised concerns over the rampant cases of homicides in Acholi Sub-Region.

According to statistics obtained from Police in Aswa River Region, a total of 366 homicide cases were registered in Acholi Sub-–Region in a period of 15 months. Out of those cases, 301 were from January to December 2020, while 65 were recorded from January to March this year.

The recent case was a murder by assault under Gulu CRB 409/2021 last Tuesday afternoon where Denise Uhuru, 23, a resident of Bungatira Sub-County in Gulu District was allegedly assaulted by one identified as Paul Rubangakene, 20, over a misunderstanding.

According to the police report, Uhuru was rushed to Gulu Regional Referral Hospital where she was later pronounced dead. Rubangakene was arrested and charged with murder contrary to section 188 and 189 of the Penal Code Act.

Geoffrey Roman Odoch, the Defense Secretary of Atyaba Parish, Bungatira Sub-County in Gulu district says three people have so far been murdered in his area between April 18-26th.

According to Odoch, homicides are more rampant in the rural areas than urban centers and that youths are the main perpetrators. Odoch appealed to the relevant authorities to popularize the different laws governing the country among the local community in a bid to curb down the vices.

Faisal Karanga, another local says domestic violence is the major factor leading to the rise of homicides in Acholi Sub –Region and that the vice is mainly caused by the economic hardships most families are going through. He appealed to the different stakeholders to tackle the issue of economic hardship in the region in a bid to eliminate the factors leading to rampant homicides.

Catherine Atimango, another resident who expressed worry over the rampant homicides says most of these cases begin within families and among relatives.

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Jimmy Patrick Okema, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson says the homicides range from murder by assault, murder by strangulation, murder by shooting to murder as a result of domestic violence. He attributes the rampant homicides to inadequate community policing by police and other development partners due to challenges like the outbreak of COVID -19.

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Okema also added that police were availed with mega phones to sensitize community against criminal acts during the period of lockdown but that the mega phones were only useful in urban areas hence, leaving out the locals in rural areas where crimes are rampant.

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He appeals to the cultural and religious leaders and also family heads to join efforts in combating the rampant murder cases mainly arising from land wrangles and domestic violence.

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Yusuf Okwonga Adek, the Chief of Pageya Clan condemned the rampant homicides in Acholi Sub –Region saying it is totally against the Acholi cultural values.

Nelson Onono Onweng, the retired Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda and also the Chairman of Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative –ARLPI however called upon all religious leaders to use their platforms to preach against misunderstandings that normally result into homicides.

According to the Police Annual Crime report of 2020, a total of 4,460 homicide cases were registered in 2020 compared to 4,718 registered in 2019.